The Noisy Channel


Is Google Diving Head First Into HCIR?

May 12th, 2009 · 10 Comments · Uncategorized

I’ve been at the Enterprise Search Summit all day, so I didn’t have the chance to pore through the buzz about Google’s Searchology announcements. But I did see a snippet that struck me as very unusual language for Google:

Our first announcement today is a new set of features that we call Search Options, which are a collection of tools that let you slice and dice your results and generate different views to find what you need faster and easier. Search Options helps solve a problem that can be vexing: what query should I ask?

Google, focusing on query refinement and elaboration? I’m all ears! In fact, eyes and ears–here is the video tour:

Well, on second thought, it’s a bit of a rehash of features they’d already rolled out, and that I personally didn’t find overwhelming (see here and here). Still, I’m pleased that their marketing language is embracing HCIR–that’s a big step for a company that has perhaps done more than anyone to emphasize the primacy of relevance ranking in the search interface. Even if they’re only taking baby steps at this point, I am cautiously optimistic that they will build on them.

10 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Eric Andersen // May 12, 2009 at 10:46 pm

    Isn’t Google “Wonder Wheel” just VisualThesaurus which has been around for years?

  • 2 Daniel Tunkelang // May 12, 2009 at 10:57 pm

    Actually, I think it’s more like Altavista’s Visual Live Topics.

    Danny Sullivan has a gallery of examples here.

  • 3 jeremy // May 13, 2009 at 1:08 am

    I, for one, welcome our new HCIR overlor..

    Ok, ok, that meme has run its course 😉

    But yeah, even the fact that the PR-speak has changed its tone is a significant step. I am very much looking forward to seeing what happens, too.

    More here:

  • 4 Max L. Wilson // May 13, 2009 at 4:40 am


    this feels like a massive step for google. Its gotta be the most dramatic UI change to what has ‘defined’ Google for so long. I better evaluate it.

  • 5 jeremy // May 13, 2009 at 12:17 pm

    So in the time-based results refactoring options, you can sort by most recent, or only see the last 24 hours, week, etc.

    But it doesn’t let me sort by LEAST recent. Boy, sometimes that sort of search is extremely useful, especially when I am doing a literature search and looking for the earliest mention of a topic.

    That seems like such an easy change.. why is that not an option?

  • 6 Daniel Tunkelang // May 13, 2009 at 7:09 pm

    I’m guessing it’s much harder for them to show old results than new ones, but of course that’s based on the supposition that their indexing approach is biased towards a small subset of their document collection. I posted a comment on Matt Cutts’s blog; perhaps he’ll shed light on the decision.

  • 7 jeremy // May 15, 2009 at 3:52 pm

    Hmm.. no reply from Matt yet.

  • 8 FXPAL Blog » Blog Archive » Searching for a Google Search API // May 19, 2009 at 11:27 am

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